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Using Interaction for Simpler and Better Learning
Seminar Series: Machine Learning Seminar Series 2018
Speaker: Sanjoy Dasgupta

Host: Guy Bresler
Host Affiliation: MIT EECS

Date: Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Time: 3 PM
Location: 32-141 Stata Center


In the usual setup of supervised learning, the learner is given a stack of labeled examples and told to fit a classifier to them. It would be quite unnatural for a human to learn in this way, and indeed this model is known to suffer from a variety of fundamental hardness barriers. However, many of these hurdles can be overcome by moving to a setup in which the learner interacts with a human (or other information source) during the learning process.

We will see how interaction makes it possible to:
1. Learn DNF (disjunctive normal form) concepts.
2. Perform machine teaching in situations where the student’s concept class is unknown.
3. Improve the results of unsupervised learning. We will present a generic approach to “interactive structure learning” that, for instance, yields simple interactive algorithms for topic modeling and hierarchical clustering. Along the way, we will present a novel cost function for hierarchical clustering, as well as an efficient algorithm for approximately minimizing this cost.


Sanjoy Dasgupta is a Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at UC San Diego. He works on algorithms for machine learning, with a focus on unsupervised and interactive learning.

Relevant URL:
For more information please contact: Marcia G. Davidson, 617-253-3049, marcia@csail.mit.edu